Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

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In a time of uncertainty, Michigan State football looks to move forward following ongoing Title IX investigation

Jack Moreland
Mel Tucker on the sidelines during MSU’s game against Richmond on September 9, 2023. The Spartans defeated Richmond, 45-14. Photo Credit: Jack Moreland/WDBM

Amidst the suspension of Michigan State head football coach Mel Tucker, who was accused of sexual harassment, now begs the question: How will Michigan State football move forward amongst all the chaos surrounding the program? 

MSU suspended Tucker on Sunday, Sept. 10 without pay as the university continues its investigation, leaving the fourth-year head coach’s future in serious doubt. 

Interim head coach Harlon Barnett spoke at a press conference on Tuesday, Sept. 12, addressing where the football program stands, before looking ahead as the Spartans get ready to host No. 8 Washington on Saturday.

“We had a team meeting on Sunday, where I met with them,” Barnett said. “We have to all come together. It’s a time of adversity, and we have to be unified. We have a mission to complete, so we’re mission-focused.”

Barnett was named interim head coach on Sunday following the suspension of Mel Tucker. 

Barnett played for Michigan State from 1986 to 1989 as a defensive back. This is his second stint with the Spartans. He was a secondary coach under Mark Dantonio from 2005-2017. 

Another familiar face returning to campus is former Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio. MSU’s all-time winningest coach is back with the program and will serve as an associate head coach during this time. It is unclear what Dantonio’s official role will be as associate head coach, but he is with the team and already going through preparations for the Spartans’ big game against the Huskies. 

Harlon Barnett stated that Dantonio “brings a calming presence, the wisdom, the knowledge of being a head coach – a successful one at that.”

As Michigan State goes through another period of turmoil and uncertainty, the only thing MSU football can control is moving forward by getting ready for their next matchup against the Washington Huskies. 

“We’re tough, we’re Spartans, we’re resilient,” Barnett said. “We’re gonna push through this as Spartans do, and Spartans will.”

In his Tuesday afternoon press conference, Barnett also stated that the players felt no sense of anger or disappointment following the suspension. 

“They’re moving on. They’re young people. They’re resilient,” Barnett said. “Sad and angry never came up. Sympathy for coach. But other than that, they were great.” 

After a massive sudden coaching change, Michigan State football has its eyes set on Saturday, as Harlon Barnett and his staff are getting the team ready for a challenging opponent that beat the Spartans 39-28 a year ago. 

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About the Contributors
Jay DeCoster
Jay DeCoster, Sports Editorial Assistant
Jay is a senior studying Mediated Communications at Michigan State. He joined Impact in September of 2021 as a volunteer. Jay is the Michigan State Football & women's soccer beat reporter for the Impact sports department. His interests include supporting his favorite Chicago sports teams, and golfing in the summer. "If you got a dream, chase it, 'cause a dream won't chase you back" - Cody Johnson
Jack Moreland
Jack Moreland, Sports Photo Editor
Jack (he/him) is a Journalism major focusing in sports reporting and media photography. Growing up in nearby Okemos, Michigan, he has been a lifelong Spartan and is proud to sport the green and white. Jack is a big Baby Keem fan and is known to post on your block with your wishlist on you.

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